July 24, 2006

Dick Cheney – Stumping or Stumbling for the GOP?

chutzpah - (Yiddish) unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity

When I heard Rachael Maddow mention this on her Air America show I almost couldn’t believe my ears. But then I found the story on Yahoo News... There it was in black-and-white... Dick Cheney, at a GOP fundraiser in Tampa, telling people to keep Republicans in office in this election BECAUSE of the violence in the Middle East. I figured this has to be the definition of ‘Chutzpah’... I had to look it up in the dictionary... Perhaps I’d see Dick Cheney’s face!

Dick Cheney has to be one of the biggest embarrassments in the Republican Party. Everyone in the world knows he’s a fascist neo-conservative who hasn’t gotten anything right with respect to Middle East politics. We weren't greeted as liberators, Iraq’s oil isn’t paying for its own liberation, and the insurgency certainly isn’t in its “last throes”. And Dick Cheney's most notable event over the past year is shooting a hunting buddy in the face.

This man is a disgrace in every sense of the word. He bailed out of every opportunity to serve in the military when he had the chance (was it 5 deferments or 6, Dick?). And after 9/11, he help engineer the most catastrophic foreign policy blunder of all time for the United States of America.

No need to go after Osama bin Laden - the one who actually engineered the attack of September the 11th (or so we're told). Instead, let's redirect our resources and military might to attack/conquer a small sovereign nation which was no threat to us at all. Sounds like a great idea, huh? Just package together a bunch of lies, sell it to the nation, and voila - a green light to kick the hornet's nest in the Middle East.

Never mind that Dick Cheney is personally profiting from all this war as a major player in the Military Industrial Complex. Sure, he's no longer the CEO of Halliburton, but he's still receiving compensation. And I suppose it's just a coincidence that Halliburton has been receiving multi-billion dollar, NO-BID contracts for work in Iraq. And if that wasn't bad enough, we've heard so much about the fraud, waste, mismanagement, and missing billions of dollars.

Dick Cheney has a hell of a lot of chutzpah trying to convince anyone that voting Republican now is the best course after the Republicans (and he) completely and utterly f**ked up this entire region of the planet. But keep stumpin' for the GOP'ers Dick. In fact, keep your profile as high as possible (your subterranean approval ratings are the subject of folklore). That's the best way to help the Democrats get back in power!

July 17, 2006

'Enemy of the State'... But, Who's Really The Enemy?

All this talk about the NSA spying on US citizens had me yearning to see one of my favorite movies of all time - "Enemy of the State". If you haven't seen this film, I urge you to go down to your nearest video store and rent it. It is well worth viewing.

The Plot...

... is about the NSA's domestic spying program. Oddly enough, there's legislation in the works to expand the NSA's spying scope and authority... all under the guise of protecting America and 'National Security', of course. It starts out with Jon Voight, who is a big honcho in the NSA, trying to negotiate with a Congressman (Jason Robards). At the end of the conversation Voight's henchmen kill the Congressman , but it's all caught on tape by an environmental engineer who just happened to have a stationary, motion-activated camcorder pointed towards the crime scene (he was studying the migratory patterns of geese). Anyway, as the story continues, the NSA uses all its resources to retrieve the evidence, which happens to fall into the possession of Will Smith (unknowingly). As a side note, Jack Black ('School of Rock') and Seth Green ("SCOTT!!!!!") play interesting roles on the NSA spy team.

I don't want to give too much more of the plot away (although I will say that Gene Hackman has an awesome role as an ex-NSA agent), but the crux of this movie is around the technology that the NSA employs & deploys to monitor, track, research, and altogether harass Will Smith, in the process of attempting to retrieve the evidence. Real-time satellite imagery, electronic & video surveillance, and the very latest, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology is displayed and highlighted. Granted this movie is fiction, but I sincerely doubt that very much, if any, of this technology is fiction.

No Oversight

Did they get any stinkin' warrants to tap phones? What do you think? Well, it might have been done in one of the deleted scenes that didn't make the final cut for the movie, but I doubt that too. My guess is that NSA does, in fact, have all this technology and capability. And without oversight, either Congressional or Judicial, there's literally nothing stopping them from using this technology in very unscrupulous ways that were not intended.

How do we know that the National Security Agency, which is essentially an extension of the US President (a Republican, neo-conservative, right-wing, born-again, evangelical, secretive, lying, hypocritical, evil, war-mongering, politically-motivated excuse of a Commander-in-Chief), isn't using this technology to spy on Democrats & other political enemies? Without proper oversight, we don't. We're just supposed to trust them. And by the way... don't think for one minute that 'proper oversight' is simply a matter of informing a couple of rubber-stamping Congressmen that the program exists.

Enemy of the State' is an eye-opener, and every American should see it. Then, come back here and try convincing me that privacy isn't important. Bullcrap!

July 07, 2006

Joe Lieberman Just Doesn't Get It

Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. The reason I know that is because I remember seeing his name underneath Al Gore's back in the 2000 election. Plus, most times I see his name in print in the news, there's a "D" next to it. Otherwise, what is there about Joe Lieberman that would reveal that he's a Democrat?

To be honest, before the 2000 election when Gore selected him as his running mate, I had never heard of Joe Lieberman. I wasn't politically astute for most of my adult life, so I wasn't keeping track of each politician in each state. Then, in 2000, I was an instant Joe Lieberman fan because I'm a Democrat and he was on the ticket. However, in the years since Bush stole the election, I have been paying attention, and Joe Lieberman's true colors have emerged in my eyes. The truth is, Joe Lieberman is a Democrat in name only (DINO). Like Zell Miller (and your perverbial wolf in sheep's clothing), he's really a Republican.

Joe has constantly and consistently supported George W. Bush and the neo-conservative rush to war. In the years since, he's been a vocal supporter of the occupation of Iraq, insistent on 'staying the course', resistant of any kind of exit strategy, and altogether parroting the Republican talking points at every juncture. Joe Lieberman is not really a Democrat. Don't let that "D" next to his name fool you.

What Joe fails to understand...

... is that a vast majority of our country - (upwards of 62% depending on which poll you look at) of both Democrats AND Republican voters - are vehemently against this war in/occupation of Iraq. Those poll numbers are much higher when considering just Democrats. So why (pray tell), would any Democrat, especially one who was altogether screwed over by the lying, scheming, dirty, sleazy, scummy actions of the Bush crime family, be not only supportive of the unjustified war which we all know Bush rushed into with fabricated intelligence, but also supportive of Bush himself? George even kissed him on national television on the floor of the House following the State Of The Union speech.

Joe, what makes you think you could possibly win as a Democrat in a Democratic primary when you've actively campaigned against Democratic values and the Democratic platform, especially against another Democrat who does espouse the Democratic values? What have you been smoking?

The 'Ralph Nader' Factor

Seeing his poll numbers dwindling, Joe decided to fight to the end. He won't go away quietly when he loses his primary. He won't lose graciously. Noooooo. He's going to continue his quest for re-election as an Independent even after he loses the Democratic primary? Now, what could he possibly gain by continuing to campaign as an Independent after losing the Democratic primary?

There are two major parties in the United States political system. With only the rarest of exceptions, all of the elected officials will emanate from either of those two parties. Therefore, it is clear that anyone running for office who isn't from one of those two parties, is doing so for purely symbolic or egotistical reasons. Clearly they have no chance of winning an election, but they can get their word out, and they can get their face into the public eye. Is this Joe Lieberman's mettle - symbolic or egotistical?

There's one other reason Joe might be continuing his campaign as an Independent. Flashback for a minute to the 2000 election. While Democrats and Republicans can debate endlessly about whether or not Bush or Gore would've won given any change in the recount, the butterfly ballot, the sleazy voter disenfranchisement, and the like, there can be NO DEBATE that had Ralph Nader's name not been on the ballot, Gore would've won the election handily. Bush's 537 winning vote margin in Florida would've been easily overcome by the overwhelming majority of Nader votes which would've gone to Gore instead of Bush.

So, here's my question to you Joe. Are you trying to 'Ralph Nader' Ned Lamont? Clearly, since there's no chance you could win in November after losing the Democratic primary in August, I can't see that you would have anything else to gain in the November election if you ran as an Independent, other than to help the Republican candidate by taking votes away from the Democratic candidate.

You should just switch over to the Republican Party where you belong. Or, perhaps you feel you can help the GOP more by staying in the Democratic Party and just acting like a Republican. It worked for Zell.

If the Democrats lose this Senate seat after you basically act like a stinker, we'll be watching to see where you land. Maybe Georgie promised you an ambassadorship or some other plum job to help steer our country further down the sewer pipes. Just take discomfort in knowing that you'll have left your respect and integrity behind.

July 05, 2006

Ann Coulter Just Doesn't Get It

I haven't read Ann Coulter's new book - "Godless". I don't intend to. I have no intention of spending my hard-earned money on a hateful piece of garbage that would effectively help a right-wing hate-monger to profit. Even though I haven't read it, I did catch Ann Coulter on "The Tonight Show", and I've read many OpEd articles on it, so I have a pretty good idea what the content is about. And as such, I do have an opinion (of course I always have an opinion).

The premise of Ann's new book is that 'Liberalism' is 'Godless'. She writes that "...liberalism is the opposition party to God..." and "...the liberal hostility to God-based religions...".

What Coulter fails to understand...

...is that many Liberals DO believe in God. In fact, the likelihood of people believing in God has nothing to do with political ideology. The difference is that Liberals believe that religion should not be part and parcel to our government. We liberals believe in the separation of church and state as is established in our Constitution. We live in a diverse society, and understand that our religions are diverse, just as our cultures, our heritages, and our ancestries.

Whether you're liberal or conservative, you may or may not believe in God. In our country, the beauty is, you're entitled and encouraged to believe what you want, and the government may not interfere with your beliefs (beyond the point of public safety). Liberals believe that the government should not promote a specific religion. And since the government should not promote a specific religion, it should not promote any religion.

That's all there is to it. We liberals believe in God just as much as you conservatives. We just don't want Uncle Sam telling us what to believe.

My Own Beliefs

Over the years my beliefs about God and religion have evolved. As a young child in religious school I learned about the bible, creation, and many of the stories emanating from my heritage. However, in my childhood, I could never completely distinguish biblical stories from fairy tales. Who's to say there's any difference in reality between Noah and his ark with two animals of every kind, and Humpty Dumpty who sat on a wall? What is real and what isn't? What is true and what isn't?

I think 'truth' and 'reality' are relative concepts. We all have our own conceptions of what is true, and what is real, especially when it comes to historical/biblical events. There was no video technology at the time. All we have are words written down and passed down. Written down by whom? Witnesses? Haven't you seen enough courtroom dramas to know that witnesses have their own connotation of truth and reality? Everyone sees what they think they saw. Everyone has their own perspective. And now, everyone has their own beliefs. When it comes to biblical events, how can anyone today be absolutely certain about what is the truth, or what really happened thousands of years ago?

Religion hit home for me when my mother once took me aside and taught me 'The Golden Rule'. It was displayed on a plaque and hung on a wall in our house. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." In the bible the words are slightly different - "Love thy neighbor as thyself" - but the meaning is quite clear. To me, religion is about values. It's about how we treat other people. It's about love, brotherhood, and mercy. It's about peace, community, and family. It's about learning how to be a positive, contributing member of society. That's what righteous values are about.

Religion is not about stopping homosexuality, abortions, or pre-marital sex. Religion isn't about keeping brain-dead people on life-support, pledging your allegiance to God, or displaying the 10 commandments in government buildings.

You're free to believe (in this country) that Jesus is the son of God. You're free to believe (in this country) in the afterlife. You're free to believe (in this country) that Buddha or Allah is your God. You're even free to believe (in this country) in more than one God, or no God at all. The operative words here are "... free to believe (in this country)..." because 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;'.

So Ann, here's my message to you. Liberals are not particularly 'Godless'. We just respect our Constitution and don't want religion in our government.